Andrew Strauss, the England captain, has taken the unprecedented step of arranging to play for Somerset in their tour match against India at Taunton next month in an effort to recapture his form before the four-match series against the world’s leading Test side. Middlesex have no first-class cricket in the three weeks leading up to the first Test against India at Lord’s starting on July 21 .
Strauss struggled against Sri Lanka in the series which finished on Monday, particularly against left-arm seam bowler Chanaka Welegedara, making 27 runs in four innings. The Middlesex opener is hoping that a temporary switch of counties and an early look at the Indian bowlers will help arrest his slump in form a week before the India series. Somerset’s match against India takes place between July 15-17, during which time Middlesex play one Twenty20 and one 40-over match.
“It helps my preparation for the npower Test series and, I hope, it will help Somerset and ultimately it will help out England’s preparations for the Test series as well,” Strauss said. “Any time I get the opportunity to play against the touring side prior to the series starting I take it, because it gives me an opportunity to see their bowlers – and more than anything it’s about getting some cricket. I’ll be doing a lot of work in the nets over the next few weeks, but you can’t replicate what happens in a match in the nets. This gives me another opportunity to have another innings before the npower Test series starts.”
Strauss made 151 against the Sri Lankans at Uxbridge for Middlesex last month but it did not appear to benefit him in the three-Test series. Welegedara dismissed him three times and India arrive with Zaheer Khan, the world’s leading left-arm bowler.
“It’s been a frustrating series for me, and I’m determined to make sure I come back strong against India. I don’t see any reason why I can’t – but I’ve got to put in some decent work over the next few weeks,” Strauss said. “But every Test batsman has times when he doesn’t get as many runs as he would like. I’m going to make sure I’m on my game for the India series.”